02/03/2024 95comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 1 - 3 West Ham

Everton threw away another precious lead and ended up coming away completely empty handed as West Ham struck twice in stoppage time to extend the Blues’ winless run to 10 matches and keep them mired in the battle to avoid relegation near the bottom.

Sean Dyche’s men led for six second-half minutes after Beto notched only his second Premier League goal at the second attempt, atoning for failing to score from the penalty spot at the end of the first period by converting James Garner’s cross in the 56th minute, but were pegged back by a Kurt Zouma header off a corner.

Everton, who had their chances to have had the contest won before those calamitous few stoppage-time minutes at the end, probably should have been 2-0 up by that point but Alphonse Areola, turning in a man-of-the-match display, saved from Dwight McNeil at point-blank range and Tomas Soucek later cleared off his goal line before scoring what proved to be the winner at the other end.

Though Dominic Calvert-Lewin has a decent scoring record against the Hammers, his goal drought that stretches all the way back to the last time these two sides met back in October prompted Dyche to start Beto up front and the Portuguese had the better chances to open the scoring in what was a poor first 45 minutes from both teams.

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Strong work by Amadou Onana, restored to the starting XI in central midfield, gave him his first sight of goal from 20-odd yards but he drove well off target and he should have done much better with the best chance of the half from open play with 24 minutes gone.

Dwight McNeil threaded him in with perfect ball between two West Ham defenders but, having dug the ball out from under his foot, Beto scuffed a shot that Areola was able to save at close quarters.

He was gifted the opportunity to send Everton into the break a goal up, however, when Zouma was adjudged to have handled the ball in the penalty area and, having been sent to the pitchside monitor by VAR Tony Harrington, referee Craig Pawsonn pointed to the spot.

Unfortunately, Areola went the right way and palmed Beto's effort from 12 yards out away to safety from West Ham's point of view.

Everton had been the stronger side in the first half but their attacking failings had repeatedly undermined their efforts to take the lead. That changed early in the second half, though, first when McNeil tested Areola with an excellent half-volley that the keeper parried away and then when Garner and Beto combined to break the deadlock.

The midfielder advanced down the right flank and curled a magnificent cross into the box where Beto managed to guide it home with a thumping header to make it 1-0.

The Toffees under Dyche had made a habit of going ahead and successfully seeing matches out earlier in his tenure but management of games from winning positions has become a challenge of late, and so it proved again today as the hosts allowed the game to open up from that point on.

This match pivoted crucially on a moment in the 59th minute when Jack Harrison collected a pass into the Hammers' box by McNeil, held it up to cut back on his left foot and chip it into the six-yard box where the Blues' No.7 simply had to steer a volley either side of the keeper to double the lead.

Areola did well to scramble across his goal, though, and was there to save from McNeil and, after a Mohammed Kudus shot had deflected behind off James Tarkowski's heel, Everton conceded only their second headed goal of the season and a second from a set-piece in as many weeks.

Zouma easily rose higher than Ben Godfrey to meet James Ward-Prowse's corner and despatched a glancing header above Garner on the line and into the top corner.

Both sides had chances to retake the lead in normal time, with Areola pushing away another good effort from McNeil, this time a rasping effort from 30 yards out and the Hammers' keeper doing really well to readjust his feet to bat a deflected Beto shot behind to prevent it spinning into the far corner.

From that corner, Abdoulaye Doucouré almost bundled home at the back post with Areola nowhere but Soucek smuggled it away from the line at the near post while, back at the other end, Everton twice played themselves into trouble by giving the ball away but Lucas Paquetá couldn't put a header on target in the 65th minute and Jordan Pickford did brilliantly to deny Kudus following Tarkowski's error.

Doucouré, Everton's best player on the day, scampered down the left flank with a quarter of an hour to go and centred looking for Calvert-Lewin, now on for Beto, but Areola denied him with a flying one-handed interception and Godfrey slashed the rebound well off target before McNeil played the striker in but Areola was there again to make himself big and make the stop.

Urgently seeking a first win since mid-December, Everton were hoping to press for a winner in five minutes of injury time but ended up being undone in the first added minute. Kudus was afforded too much space down the West Ham left to cut a deep cross back towards Soucek who was afforded time by Vitalii Mykolenko to bring it down smartly before bending an impressive shot around Pickford and into the far side of the goal with the outside of his boot.

Goodison was stunned into silence and it got worse as the Blues pressed desparately for an equaliser in the dying minutes. Frustratingly, Garner failed to beat the first man with a promising situation from a corner and, having been allowed a second bite at it by the referee when he awarded the set-piece to be retaken, repeated the depressing feat with his second delivery.

West Ham surged away on the counter with substitute André Gomes out-numbered in retreat and when Edson Alvarez was played into a one-on-one with Pickford, he deftly lofted it over the keeper to seal the victory for the away side in a rapidly-emptying Goodison Park.

Those Evertonians who remained booed the players off at the final whistle before trudging away in the rain to contemplate more dropped points and the prospect of another fraught run-in to the end of the season.

Dyche will, no doubt, fall back on his lament at the start of the season, pointing at the chances his side had to win the game but which they ultimately squandered. The fact remains, though, that West Ham were poor and while Everton were the dominant side, they were too often frustratingly inept going forward. Ironically, the team that Dyche quipped had forgotten how to win while he was manager at Burnley, is now afflicted with the same dangerous problem under his stewardship at Goodison Park.

Things don't get any easier next week with a trip to Old Trafford where no Everton side has won in 11 years and unless they can start winning matches, their Premier League fate will continue to hang in the balance.


Reader Comments (95)

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Darrel Pugh
1 Posted 02/03/2024 at 18:29:44
- 5 wonderful points gained by playing football out of the last 30 available
- ⁠Nearly as many, 4 handed back by the commission
- ⁠Celebrate the week's appeal by losing to a team who want their own manager out
- The best defence since OJ Simposon's lawyer
- ⁠1 goal from the 40 combined games his strikers have played
- ⁠The oldest player in the whole league
- ⁠Tactics that Sam Allardyce was far better at & got sacked for by finishing 8th
- ⁠Authorised Beto & Young being signed
Mike Hayes
2 Posted 02/03/2024 at 18:32:11
Only Everton could lose more points playing football than the Premier League can take away.
Rob Jones
3 Posted 02/03/2024 at 18:53:30
Darrel, you can't complain that our strikers are shit, complain about our squad, and then whine about the manager.

You can't have it both ways.

Darrel Pugh
4 Posted 02/03/2024 at 19:11:18
Rob it is both ways - a good manager plays strikers in a way that suits them & they flourish under the manager

If an Evertonian can’t legitimately voice concerns over a team that doesn’t win & strikers that do not score - then how far have our standards dropped?

The both ways you refer to are hardly a request for the return of Brazil 70 - let me spell it out - how about in 10 games, 4 wins, 3 losses, 3 draws. What about strikers who might score 8 goals in 20 games each?

I apologise for my highly inflated expectations of Everton FC, I’m asking for a level of decent performance from all associated with the playing side of our club.

Ian Pilkington
5 Posted 02/03/2024 at 19:52:23
I rarely comment immediately after a match but I am rapidly losing patience with Dyche’s team selection and game management.
Dyche himself famously told his Burnley team at half time two seasons ago when we were beating them 2-1 at Turf Moor that Everton had forgotten how to win, and of course Burnley won 3-2.
We are now in a joint longest run without a win in a calendar year in our history, have won just 3 home matches this season and we have not won a single match after going behind since he took charge.
I am utterly sick of watching the away team’s fans celebrating (Luton’s twice) from my seat in the Top Balcony.
I have to almost drag my wife to matches and after 60 years I no longer look forward to going myself, with very few positive memories since our last trophy 29 years ago.
If 777 get the green light it may be the last straw for me.
Phil Smith
6 Posted 02/03/2024 at 20:07:23
Another week, another threw away point or 2. I was left fuming today and if I had anything next to me I could have smashed, I would of. Garner had a chance to tie it with a decent corner and he TWICE failed to beat the first man and then pretty much face them the ball to go up the other end and score.

How Harrison stayed on for 80 minutes blows my mind. All he did today was lose the ball. McNeil was gash but at least he had a few pot shots from distance. Gomes looked like he was running through treacal when he came on. Duke didn’t get up in support and once again we conceded a header when Godfrey couldn’t jump with his man. Beyond fumin’. Thank fuck our next lot of fames are away from the Old Lady.

Jim Bennings
8 Posted 02/03/2024 at 20:41:16
It wouldn't really shock me if we didn't win another game this season to be honest.
Could see us getting maybe 6 or 7 draws but the way we are playing, we don't look capable of winning.

Ironically it could be Dyche's own words when managing Burnley against Lampard's Everton in April 2022 "Everton don't know how to win", that come back to haunt him and us.

We can't win home games, God help us when we play Burnley and Sheff Utd at home, the onus on us to break them down.

The away games we've got left are killers and games we historically don't do well in.

Mick O'Malley
9 Posted 02/03/2024 at 20:59:23
Dyche is doing a fine job kidding the fans, all the off-field stuff is giving him a free pass with what's going on on the pitch.

We haven't won a league game since December. Lampard and Benitez were getting slaughtered for similar runs — why is Dyche immune from criticism?

Ralph Basnett
10 Posted 02/03/2024 at 21:10:04
What must Harrison do in training to keep Dobbin out?

If the players selected are on performance in training, then maybe Dyche needs to change his selection process.

No one gives you anything for nothing unless you play us.

I broke my ankle recently so have not been able to go; absence from the games has confirmed what I already knew and it was that I was throwing my hard-earned money into millionaires' pockets who do not give a flying fuck about the club or the supporters.

Klipperty had no choice but to play his kids and they come up trumps; let's give ours a go because the so-called first-team players aren't doing it for us.

Jim Bennings
11 Posted 02/03/2024 at 21:55:44

Listen mate, don't take it the wrong way but none of our kids are anywhere near what the Redshite have.

They keep churning them out at that academy to play and think in keeping with their standards across the park, they are all schooled to pass, move, shoot, be confident, have oodles of self-belief.

If I had a pound for every time over the last 20 years I've heard it said about Baningime, Dowell, Davies, Kenny etc etc etc of how good they'd be in the first team.

The youth at this club echoes exactly what the first team is, they think exactly the same.

The academy is what the club is, and that's the same at every club out there.

Liverpool are a winning club, whether we like it or not, and they churn out kids with winner's mindsets; otherwise, you aren't allowed near their first team.

A bit like the way Arsene Wenger had Arsenal back in the early part of this century, it didn't matter who he played from the youth team, they just fitted into the style of play and the mentality was the equal of his peers.

I know we are all searching for this new Rooney or new Ross Barkley even or just someone to give us a bit of positive feeling, but there's nothing coming through that makes this pile of shite smell any better, trust me.

We are in the depths of despair right now and must just hope we can somehow again survive despite being God awful.

Tony Abrahams
12 Posted 02/03/2024 at 22:05:17
Jim @11.

Their fans got rid of Roy Hodgson after 6 months; our fans lauded Moyes out of Goodison, after 11 years.

How long do you think Liverpudlians would have put up with Bill Kenwright, who incidentally would have probably had to sell Everton Football Club only for the success of the academy.

Kunal Desai
13 Posted 02/03/2024 at 22:51:12
You're looking for your next move as a footballer and you look at Everton – the reality is they are a club which is fourth even fifth choice down on that pecking list.
Mal van Schaick
14 Posted 02/03/2024 at 23:35:17
I'm sorry to say but it's a results business, and Dyche has to take some responsibility.

Drop McNeil, put Harrison on the left, bring Coleman back and put Patterson on the right wing, but for god's sake change something and the system, because what we are doing is not working.

Calvert-Lewin is starved of supply, because Dyche is stifling the midfield without direct play, and playing a left-footed player on the right wing.

Away at Man Utd next, if Dyche does not get his tactics and team selection right for this game, then he must be accountable.

Jerome Shields
15 Posted 03/03/2024 at 00:35:56
The last three games points have been thrown away. Poor concentration in injury time has cost Everton before.

Dyche really did get carried away with the FA Cup running up to Xmas and the New Year. This was reckless with a thread-bare squad and points deduction. He has not managed to regain the initiative since, though Everton may not have got as many points back if they had been doing better.

Dyche is now in a full relegation dogfight and he hasn't the players to pull him out of it like the previous seasons. He has made poor decisions and the team are not prepared as they should be. He has to do better at Goodison and that is glaringly necessary.

Paul Kossoff
16 Posted 03/03/2024 at 00:47:55
I would say, with 11 games to go, we may get 14 points, that's 39, minus 6 taken back by the Premier League, 33 points, enough to stay up?

Three other teams have to be worse than us or we are toast with no butter or jam left to spread on it – and knowing us, the toaster is broke and Tesco's is out of bread.

Jonathan Oppenheimer
17 Posted 03/03/2024 at 03:52:48
I'm as frustrated and defeated as everyone else, but I'll continue to defend Dyche.

Pickford had little to do today from open play, we had plenty of chances, and we simply can't score when we need to. Sure, a manager has a role in helping with finishing, but at the end of the day, professional footballers need to score.

The players Dyche has simply aren't good enough. And still we were the better team today, other than the scoreline of course.

I agree that Dobbin deserves a shot, but I assume Dyche rates Harrison's work rate on defense, plus for his mostly sub-par performances he does create chances once or twice a game, as he did today. McNeil has to put the match away to make it 2-0.

I also can't get full on board with Godfrey at right back. He's done okay defensively, but he offers us nothing with crosses or anything offensive save the occasional lung-busting run. Let's live or die with Seamus or Patterson.

Also, credit to Dyche for starting Beto, though I was shocked we'd have him step up to take that penalty, given the pressure and how little he's played; someone else has to take it with Dom on the bench.

Beto is not worth what we paid, but if he played every week he'd be better than what he's been able to show us. The problem is that he, like Calvert-Lewin, is best getting into the box as he did today, but will never do anything special with the ball at his feet. That's a £15 million striker, but we of course make stupid desperate buys, which led us to where we now stand.

It sure ain't pretty these days, but we'll survive, somehow, some way. At least we didn't have Craig Pawson to blame today. Just ourselves.

Ray Jacques
18 Posted 03/03/2024 at 08:32:54
Jim @11, a hard read but all true.

It all comes from the very top, the ownership who set the standards and ours is comedic.

It's the same in the world of business, the successful ones are run well from the top and it is reflected in the product produced, all about the culture of the organisation.

Sean @17, I know what you are trying to say but 'if' – it's a very big word. If only my auntie… etc etc, but she hasn't.

Jimmy Hogan
19 Posted 03/03/2024 at 10:49:39
Fortune favours the brave. Dyche has to start setting us up to win, not just to not lose lose.
Nigel Munford
20 Posted 03/03/2024 at 11:28:19
If the goalkeepers were in opposite teams, we'd have won comfortably. Areola played a blinder, as do a lot of our opponents' 'keepers.
Jim Bennings
21 Posted 03/03/2024 at 11:47:20

Pointless comment.

The saves for Areola were all comfortable and our shots are all timid and right at him.

Our shooting every week is always poor and the reason is not the opposing keeper but our own ineptitude in front of goal.

Rob Halligan
22 Posted 03/03/2024 at 11:58:01
Jim, whereabouts in the stadium where you sitting, or like most games, what room where you sitting in?

Believe me, hardly any of those shots at Areola were straight at him. I am sat in the Upper Gwladys right behind the goal, and he pulled off some miraculous saves in that second half, especially the deflected Beto shot which was arrowing straight towards the top corner.

He also made about three or four stops low down to his left side, all of which were heading in. The only shot that I can recall being straight at him was the McNeil one, which McNeil should have scored.

Svein-Roger Jensen
23 Posted 03/03/2024 at 12:06:38
I miss players like Baines, Pienaar, Arteta, and Cahill.
Brent Stephens
24 Posted 03/03/2024 at 12:29:39
Rob #22, though sat in thr Upper Bullens I also had a good view of the line of those goal attempts and where the keeper was diving. No disputing that their keeper pulled off some great saves - and had to. He kept them in it.
Andy Crooks
25 Posted 03/03/2024 at 12:43:10
Jim @21, in my view the save their goalkeeper made from the deflection was the save of the season. He had a superb game.
Rob Halligan
26 Posted 03/03/2024 at 12:53:59
Brent and Andy……you’ve only got to look at the West Ham fan forum “Claret and Booze” to see how grateful they were for Areola. Without him they would have lost with ease, and that’s what most of them are saying.
Jim Bennings
27 Posted 03/03/2024 at 13:10:13
So we are now blaming facing great goalkeepers every week for the reason we haven't won since December 16th and we will be going into April with THREE home wins?

McNeil should have ripped the net off with his chance to make it 2-0 but hit it right at him.

I'm not denying their keeper made good saves, but the Beto penalty was poor with little pace or power, the Beto first half chance should leave him with no hope of saving also.

It's a theme running every week so I'm sorry if I can't subscribe to goalkeeper swaps making the difference.

Rob Halligan
28 Posted 03/03/2024 at 13:22:36
No jim, nobody is saying that, we are simply correcting what you said regards Areola about yesterday

"The saves for Areola were all comfortable and our shots are all timid and right at him".

As I said, the McNeil one was the only one which I can remember being straight at him, even the penalty was almost in the corner, but as you say, hit with very little power.

Maybe we should just do away with goalkeepers, and play "Goalie on the Spot".

Brent Stephens
29 Posted 03/03/2024 at 13:26:24
Jim #27 "So we are now blaming facing great goalkeepers every week for the reason we haven't won since December 16th".

No, what we're doing, Jim, is to argue that you're not quite correct in saying "The saves for Areola were all comfortable and our shots are all timid and right at him".

"All"? and "all"? Patently not true.

Brian Williams
30 Posted 03/03/2024 at 13:30:32

Like to know your thoughts in this.

Tarks played a couple of those excellent diagonal circa 40yd passes yesterday. I heard a smattering of applause, in fact for one of them no more than half a dozen applauded within earshot of me in the TB. I mentioned it to my seat neighbour and asked them to listen out.

When he misplaced one all you could hear were thousands of grumbles and groans.

I think "generally" speaking Evertonians have become a very negative crowd even before things go to ratshit.

I'd say that's certainly the case on here for sure.

What I don't understand is a complete moan without offering anything else. Is it just venting to make the person feel better, or are those people just fucking moaners? 🤣

Jim Bennings
31 Posted 03/03/2024 at 13:31:41
I get it Rob.

As I say, I'm not denying West Ham had a goalkeeper on some decent form yesterday but I watch our finishers and everything seems to be done timidly.

It was the same in the Palace home game, Garner side footing things he should just be smashing with the laces.

Fulham away, players fluffing things on the goaline in injury time when it's actually easier to just score.

It's a worrying recurring theme.

Brian Williams
32 Posted 03/03/2024 at 13:38:36
Jim. Confidence has a huge effect on a player I reckon and our players IMO are lacking it bigtime.
Rob Halligan
33 Posted 03/03/2024 at 13:39:44
Brian, I thought you were going to bring up Slippy G for a minute, as all the RS fans praised him to the hilt with his diagonal 40-yard passes!

However, what you say is bang on the button. There are certain posters who only come on here when we lose, just to moan about literally everything.

When we win you very rarely hear from them. It's the same at the match, can't give praise for anything good, yet can't wait for the half-time or full-time whistle just to let out their boos.

Paul Tran
34 Posted 03/03/2024 at 14:02:40
I'd like to know how Dyche's 'dinosaur' tactics stop players taking chances.

He sounded and looked bewildered in his post-match interview yesterday.

How about playing Beto and Calvert-Lewin together? Or dropping the pair of them and giving Danjuma and Dobbin a go up front? Neither of them convince me, but both have pace, which we sorely lack. Same with Chermiti, give him a chance to sink or swim.

Right now, the tried and trusted can't be trusted. I'm not sure these options will be less effective than the current selections. Time to ring the changes up front.

Nigel Munford
35 Posted 03/03/2024 at 14:11:41
Jim, my post was not really a ‘pointless comment' — just a point of view, an opinion, seems that was shared by a good few.
Ralph Basnett
36 Posted 03/03/2024 at 14:31:03
Unfortunately for us, West Ham had two ageing forwards in Antonio and Ings who would walk into our team at the moment, that is how far we have slipped in recent years.

Dyche has tried every combination possible to sort out the goalscoring and failed. It's now time to start with Chermiti and Dobbins.

We cannot afford to have McNeil and Harrison both under performing whilst having an option on the bench we don't use.

Wake up, Dyche, before you steer us into the Championship.

Brian Williams
37 Posted 03/03/2024 at 14:38:42
Rob #33,

Brian, I thought you were going to bring up Slippy G for a minute.

Rob, there ain't enough bleach in the house to wash out my mouth if I'd mentioned that person.

Rick Tarleton
38 Posted 03/03/2024 at 14:42:37
One correspondent talks of our strikers behaving "timidly" in the box and he's obviously right. But there's another aspect and I know we've all seen Doucoure and McNeil strike their statutory three wonder goals per season, but most of the time our strikers simply don't strike the ball cleanly.

Gary Lineker may not have scored many from outside the box, but he hit it cleanly from 10 yards out when he got the opportunity.

Yesterday, we saw so many times when the strikers scuffed the ball. Beto rarely strikes the ball cleanly, Calvert-Lewin did the same in his brief cameo. Headers seem to go just over because the strikers aren't above the ball.

However, I also feel that so many of our midfielders fail to feed the strikers correctly, only Garner attempts a through pass and the crosses are so often hit from too deep so that the advantage is always with the defenders.

Dyche is of the Allardyce and Moyes school in that he starts with the idea of not losing rather than winning the game. Only when he is chasing a point in the last 10 minutes or so does he throw on a second striker.

Christine Foster has pointed out how Calvin-Lewin is expected to do too much work outside of the final third at the expense of his finishing.

Andy Crooks
39 Posted 03/03/2024 at 15:01:51
This probably a dinosaur comment, Rick, but is it something to do with the modern ball? It looks to me like any attempt to put the laces through the ball ends up like a rugby union conversion.

Our players all look like they're trying to stroke the ball into the net. Gomes had a couple of shots when he came on and there was no power in them. I doubt that was through inability to strike the ball hard.

Also, goalkeepers, including Pickford, are parrying these shots. It's like they don't trust what the ball might do.

Tony Heron
40 Posted 03/03/2024 at 15:06:13
Just came across this on Facebook.

An interesting theory from one of the best goalscorers in football history, the great Jimmy Greaves.

Wonder if our coaches might consider showing it to to our modern day "stars"?

Many many years ago Jimmy and I arrived early to do a show in Portsmouth. There were some older guys playing five or six a side on an artificial pitch and they saw Jim and asked us to watch. They were obviously decent players and playing to a high standard. The ball broke to a forward in front of goal and he screwed it wide.

Jimmy turned to me and said ‘Look at that! He tensed up as soon as he got the ball, you have to relax in the box, there's more time than most players realise. Look up, pick your spot and roll it in."

I obviously said if it was that easy why is it you did it much more than anyone else.

He said "They panic when they play, I always relaxed. I tried to see if Spurs or someone wanted a goalscoring coach. No interest though."

Tony Abrahams
41 Posted 03/03/2024 at 15:50:09
I thought McNeil showed everyone how to shoot from distance a couple of times yesterday, Andy, by getting his foot over the ball and fiercely smashing it into the turf?

Paul T, the reason that I've been asking for us to play 4-4-2 is because, when Doucouré doesn't play, we don't get any of our midfielders powering forward, trying to get ahead of the ball, and when Doucoure does play, he's often that far ahead of the ball that he ends up playing with his back to the goal.

Rick Tarleton
42 Posted 03/03/2024 at 16:36:06
I don't know what it is, Andy, but Everton players have it in spades.

We need composure and a clinical attitude and they come with confidence which is obviously in short supply.

Jerome Shields
43 Posted 03/03/2024 at 17:21:22
Paul #34,

He did try two up front. Danjuma and Calvert-Lewin. But Danjuma got injured.

Peter Jansson
44 Posted 03/03/2024 at 18:14:30
We looked much better with Beto on than with Calvert-Lewin. Beto managed to hold the ball on hoofs, not just trying to head it.

Maybe we should play both Beto and Calvert-Lewin? Beto should have played for 90 minutes. He could have taken Doucoure out for Calvert-Lewin instead.

Paul Tran
45 Posted 03/03/2024 at 18:21:48
Precisely, Tony. I think two up front may take us all 10 yards or more up the pitch.

Fair point, Jerome, why not try it again when Damjuma is fit? Or with Dobbin, or with Chermiti?

Dave Abrahams
46 Posted 03/03/2024 at 18:38:53
Tony (@40),

Was that Ian St John talking about Jimmy Greaves?

Peter Mills
47 Posted 03/03/2024 at 19:04:56
I was going into town after the match, and got a bit of stick from the lads who were going with me for being late at our meeting place at the church post-game. I had stayed behind at the end to, I don't know, take in the atmosphere.

There is something particularly heartbreaking, poignant, about Goodison at such times. We've seen it plenty of times, in the early 70s when only Howard Kendall kept us in the top flight. 1982-83 were desperate days. 1994, 1998, and the last couple of seasons, of course.

The stadium has ghosts, spirits, for thousands of us. Sometimes, in great times and in troubled times, those spirits seem to come alive. That's how it felt yesterday. It was a forlorn place.

But we have been there before, have survived, and have enough about us to survive this season (which is all this season is about). After that – who knows?

I desperately hope that there is a buyer other than 777 Partners who can run us as a proper, sustainable, progressive football club, to take us into the new stadium.

Romantic, wishful thinking? Of course. It's all I've got left. It doesn't mean it can't happen.

Tony Heron
48 Posted 03/03/2024 at 19:10:24
Dave @ 46,

Sorry, I don't know. I just came across it on Facebook. I can relate to what Greavsie is saying though because he used to pass the ball into the net. Oh for someone like that up front now!

Jerome Shields
49 Posted 03/03/2024 at 19:55:21
Paul #45

I don't know why he doesn't, especially at Goodison. I was hoping with Beto starting giving Calvert-Lewin a rest, it wou!d be Dobbin and Chermiti into the reckoning. But such late substitutions don't really give a variation a chance. The opposition are always handed the initiative regarding substitutions. It's as if Dyche is reluctant to change how he sets up the team, mainly with defence in mind.

I continually find poor forward positioning, linked to a not joined-up attacking strategy. The basics of getting first to the ball, running into space, attacking the near post, and movement are not evident. It puts the wingers in two minds what ball to play and you rarely see attempted through balls.

Sorry, but I put this down to the coaching and managing and find Dyche's frustration a bit rich. I am frustrated with him in that I think he is largely to blame. It really tops it when he starts blaming players.

If the coaching and management of forward play was better, the players would be prepared and better able to take their chances and there would be more chances.

Dyche is very much an advocate of the hard way and will keep strengthening his formation – no matter what.

Barry Rathbone
50 Posted 03/03/2024 at 20:13:23
Tony Heron @40,

The problem with the Greaves's comment is it presupposes the forward has the rudimentary skills to control and pick his spot; Calvert-Lewin and Beto fight with rather than control a ball. At their ages, it can't be changed.

Calvert-Lewin can only hit the way he is facing, it's why he misses so often – keepers can see what he's up to or it goes high and wide. That recent golden opportunity against Luton bounced off the side of his head which is fuck-all to do with confidence and everything to do with bad technique.

Tony Abrahams
51 Posted 03/03/2024 at 20:15:15
Bad technique, or awareness = They tense up, Barry.
Andy Crooks
52 Posted 03/03/2024 at 20:20:17
Pete, @47,

That is a cracking post that goes right to the heart of who we are and why we do this. Really appreciated your call yesterday.

Barry Rathbone
53 Posted 03/03/2024 at 20:29:08
Tony @51,

I disagree entirely bad technique causes players to tense up.

They can't go on to auto pilot in the moment because they don't have the requisite muscle memory. Even when past my best, if a goal scoring opportunity arose, I'd notch 9 tines out of 10 simply because my technique was so good.

Brent Stephens
54 Posted 03/03/2024 at 20:33:50
Barry #53

"I'd notch 9 times out of 10 simply because my technique was so good."

I bet you were a bit of a rake when younger, Barry!

John McFarlane Snr
55 Posted 03/03/2024 at 20:37:11
Hi Rob [33],

I am on record saying that I don't slate individual players, it's my opinion that we win, draw, or lose, as a team. My first reaction to a missed goalscoring chance is like any fan's, I have never missed a goalscoring chance sitting in the Park End, then I remember that I have done exactly that many times.

A few seasons ago Manchester City played Barcelona in a European game, and Lionel Messi took a penalty which Joe Hart saved, but lying on the floor, he presented an easy chance for Messi, which was promptly headed wide, and if the recognised as the worlds No 1 player can do that, then there's hope for everyone.

Hi Andy [39], it was great to see you on Saturday, maybe we can return to the Bramley Moore at the end of the season, it beats standing in the rain outside of the Harlech.

Dave Abrahams
56 Posted 03/03/2024 at 20:40:58
Tony (48),

Yes, Jimmy Greaves, I loved to watch him, possibly the best British goalscorer I've seen. I admired his technique even when he scored against us, stroke the ball home after going round two or three players then just run back to the centre circle after a little wave of his hand, no theoretical running all over the place, he just got ready to score his next goal.

Why I asked about St John was they did a TV show together which was very good and the author on Facebook that you read said they were doing a show together in Portsmouth.
Thanks for your reply Tony.

Joe Duffin
57 Posted 03/03/2024 at 20:43:50
I genuinely don't understand why people call for Dyche to be sacked. The players are missing simple chances – this isn't the manager, this is a lack of quality and confidence on the pitch.

Goodison Park, the once firepit for opposing team, is a constant moanfest with a negativity that would depress any player.

At some point, we've got to get results, or once the second points deduction comes in, we are stuffed.

Barry Rathbone
58 Posted 03/03/2024 at 20:47:08
Brent @54,

If I'd put as much effort into the footy as to what you allude to, the history of Everton and England would be so different.

Good enough to be chased by Shankly's Liverpool but not a peep out of Everton. Go figure.

Mark Taylor
59 Posted 03/03/2024 at 20:52:41
Every week, we get it reinforced. We are a very poor team. There's a huge body of evidence proving that.

It's also possible the manager is poor but even bad managers can't account for the total lack of basic skills we show, week after week.

The best we can hope for is that there are 3 poorer teams. This season, that looks likely. Next season will be harder. Something needs to change.

Paul Hewitt
60 Posted 03/03/2024 at 21:16:52
How come, when we won 4 games in a row, Dyche was a good manager? But now we haven't won In 10, yet it's not Dyche's fault?
Andy Crooks
61 Posted 03/03/2024 at 22:30:45
We won four games in a row after our points deduction. Confidence grew and we got a bounce from it. It really could have gone the other way and Dyche deserves credit that it did not. He was a good manager. Injury disrupted the formula that he found and the "world against us" bounce faded. (How could it not!)

Some of what has gone wrong is undoubtedly Dyche's fault. They all make mistakes but it's easier to get away with them when you have a huge talented squad.

No manager in the history of football could look consistently good with the hand Dyche has been dealt and that anyone should think otherwise is just utterly ludicrous.

Derek Knox
62 Posted 03/03/2024 at 22:38:39
Another game when general play has been not too bad, but woeful finishing, beyond just bad luck, is slowly becoming our downfall.

Now here is my slant on this, if something clearly isn't working as it should, you don't persevere with it in the hope will it will cure itself ! Changes have to be made, but Dyche is persistently stubborn, to the point I am losing my faith and trust in him.

Yesterday it was obvious that we needed to change the game plan, Beto (who should have had a hat-trick) subbed for DCL who again played well without support when near goal and often too wide to score himself. Dobbin and Chermiti brought on 90 + 3 minutes. They are expected to score 3 goals in that short time ?

Since the 4 points were given back, we have squandered (potentially) another 7, through shit tactics and late substitutions. Get a grip Dyche, or someone who backed you to the hilt, will be calling for your stubborn ginger bonce, and arse to be booted back to wherever !

Peter Moore
63 Posted 04/03/2024 at 05:07:01
Dyche said in interview he only took Beto off due to fatigue, owing to the lack of match fitness due to his lack of a run of games. He praised him highly for his game and goal, rightly so I think, despite him having his penalty saved.

Each sub adds an extra 30 seconds on under the rules isn't it. When losing very late, out of desperation, I suspect it is a case of making subs to get extra game time, by putting on players who, whilst not deemed the best for the team right now, are capable of getting a goal, though it's a long shot with time running out, a desperate throw of the dice, rather than do nothing.

The game with Dyche's chosen selection was dominated by Everton. 22 shots, 11 on target. The team contained West Ham while creating loads of chances. Once fatigued Beto went off, with the score 1-1, we know what happened after that.

Dyche gave DCL 20 games to find form. He did not. Beto will likely be given a run of games now it seems. Good luck to him and good luck to us, in terms of the results coming that performances often merit.

Its not just luck of course, its momentum and confidence as well. Personally, that cross by Garner and the superb headed finish by Beto, gives me reason for hope. UTFT.

Alan J Thompson
64 Posted 04/03/2024 at 06:02:12
Tony (#40) and others;

One thing I used to notice about Jimmy Greaves was that he would shape up to look like he was hitting it one way and at the last moment close his foot and hit it the other which would have the keeper wrong-footed and look like he had passed it into the net.

Mind you, I tend to think that he mostly, but not always, scored from inside the penalty box.

Jerome Shields
68 Posted 04/03/2024 at 08:10:23
Andy #61,

I agree that the threadbare squad is a problem. But Dyche's all-comers attitude put too much pressure on the squad. His selections for both the League Cup and FA Cup were his best team. Injuries resulted in not being able to select his best team for the Premier League matches.

This undid the good work prior to Xmas and individual coaching slid. Late subs did not give players respite and the need for results meant Dyche went defensive and was happy with draws.

Two good things have come of this. Everton got their points reduced more than if they were higher up the table and being Everton they will play better against better teams that they now face in the next run of fixtures.

A lot will be dependent on how they are coached and respond over the International break. Beto did play well and Calvert-Lewin needs to be rested. Forward play needs to be worked on and Dyche has to review his substitution policy. Against West Ham, having watched highlights, it appeared to open Everton up.

Dave Lynch
69 Posted 04/03/2024 at 08:45:51
Going back to what Barry said about muscle memory.

I remember seeing a documentary on Andy Cole, he used to spend an hour or more a day shadow playing in the the box, like a boxer shadow punches, scoring goals with an imaginary ball.

He said it was to build muscle memory and sharpen his reflexes.

Bill Fairfield
70 Posted 04/03/2024 at 08:55:49
If Beto played well on Saturday, I shudder to think what an off day would look like.
Peter Moore
71 Posted 04/03/2024 at 09:06:05
Strikers are judged on goals. Beto scored a superb striker's goal on Saturday.

Dyche said he was on penalties as they practise them regularly and he is a very good penalty taker. Another day, it goes in.

Gutted the penalty was saved, but Beto's hunger and ability to score remained unchanged, as he showed. His character and ability are both up to Premier League standard in my view, given service and a run in the team. Good luck to him and us. UTFT.

Brian Williams
72 Posted 04/03/2024 at 09:27:42
Peter #63 & #71,

"Superb" (twice) when referring to Beto's goal?

The pass from Jimmy Garner was superb but the goal was headed onto his own shoulder by Beto.

Hardly superb, though I'm really glad it went in.

James Marshall
73 Posted 04/03/2024 at 09:33:06
Sean Dyche won't change anything, and I don't really get why people are blaming the manager when we had 22 shots, 11 on target and their keeper was Man of the Match.

Much as I dislike all the talk of xG, he does have a point when it comes to our piss-poor finishing – add to that our defence having been pretty solid all season, I don't see much weight behind the claims he should be sacked, or that it's his fault we lost at the weekend.

It is worth noting we had 55% possession, which for us is way more than we usually have. I'm not a fan of the way we play, we're dull as shit to watch, but it's about staying in the Premier League; we're still 5 points ahead of Luton and Forest are highly likely to get a points deduction, so it's not all bad.

I also don't think we'll get another deduction this season – my view is it'll be applied for next season so we could well start on minus points in light of the double jeopardy aspect.

Brian Harrison
74 Posted 04/03/2024 at 09:43:35
I believe that Gareth Southgate was at the game on Saturday, and I am sure he will have been impressed by Jarrad Branthwaite, who has been a joy to watch. I will be amazed if he isn't in the England squad when announced later this week.

I don't recall a better young centre-back at Branthwaite's age – even Stones was a few years older when he got called into the England team. The sad thing is, whether we escape relegation or not, Jarrad will be plying his trade for another club next season, so I intend to enjoy every minute we get to see this special talent.

I actually wouldn't be surprised to see Carlo take him to Real Madrid, he will have the pick of all the top clubs.

Peter Moore
75 Posted 04/03/2024 at 09:44:00
Okay, Brian, I thought he headed it powerfully into the bottom corner, it was not far from where I was in the Lower Bullens, but I have not seen the slow-mo replays.

If off the shoulder, maybe that's the luck he needed to change his luck. Ever the optimist me. UTFT.

Ray Robinson
76 Posted 04/03/2024 at 09:49:13
Agree James in all but one point.

If any second points deduction is held over to next season on the double jeopardy argument, then surely any Forest deduction would have to be held over too? So, we wouldn't gain any points advantage over them this season.

I think all points deductions will be applied this season. The only reason there's a double jeopardy is because it wasn't applied last season when we would have been relegated.

Ray Roche
77 Posted 04/03/2024 at 10:02:17
Ray, I thought that we were going to be charged over the next 3 years which would involve the 'double jeopardy' on each of two seasons.

The coming up charge will include the two seasons we've just been charged for plus the following season, dropping the first season from the charge sheet.

I read in a reputable newspaper that Forest's wage bill was 200% of its turnover for one season (2020-21?) and that their spending spree was due to all the players that won them promotion being recalled at the end of their loan period.

A whole team on loan to get you promoted? Doesn't seem fair that.

Barry Rathbone
78 Posted 04/03/2024 at 10:03:05
I know substitutions and Plan B are popular themes amongst the illuminati on here but how many games are actually changed by substitutions?

Plan B — what the fuck is it?

Brian Williams
79 Posted 04/03/2024 at 10:17:51

Optimists are what we need right now mate. It just goes to show though how a bit of luck, either way, can change things.
Poor Calvert-Lewin's had loads of luck, it's just that it's all been bad!


Ian Jones
80 Posted 04/03/2024 at 10:21:53
I would like to think that, once we start the Premier League next season, we might see a different Sean Dyche, perhaps a more expansive style. I guess he'll realise that he has to adapt and make changes or he won't last long as manager...

As has been pointed out above, without the deductions, we would be mid-table, granted not playing an exciting style of football, but effective at times. This season is about keeping us up.

This season has been affected by the 'noise' surrounding the ongoing points deductions. The pressure on the players must be immense, especially when things aren't going so well.

I'd be worried if we weren't creating chances – what we need is a one-touch finisher like Nikica Jelavić. Perhaps we should ask him back to help coach the forwards.

Just taken a look at his Everton goals – as someone has mentioned in the comments about his goals, his second touch was a celebration.


Carrying any further deductions to next season should not be an option. Any decisions and the appeal has to take place before the end of the season although we are fast running out of time.

I can't imagine the furore surrounding us if we finish for instance 1 point above the bottom 3 and the Premier League goes "Okay, Everton, you can have a 2 point deduction." It'll fuel the conspiracy theories...

Ian Jones
81 Posted 04/03/2024 at 10:24:14
Barry, for Plan B to be of value, we need a relatively decent Plan A :)
John Raftery
82 Posted 04/03/2024 at 10:32:01
We can cast aside any notion a further points deduction will be held over until next season. The reason the Premier League has accelerated the process is to ensure any sanctions are applied this season.

I do hope however the double jeopardy dimension will be taken into account in the next commission hearing. Much will depend on the extent of the breach. Providing we can point to an improving trend, a deduction of two points would seem appropriate. That would obviate the need for an appeal and provide clarity for all concerned in the closing weeks of the season.

In regard to Saturday's defeat, the team really ought to have focused on ensuring we kept hold of a point in the closing minutes. Not for the first time dominating possession exposed the team's weaknesses.

Picking up a positive result at Old Trafford would improve the outlook before the 3-week break. Given how flaky Man Utd can be, it is a game we should approach with some confidence.

Dave Abrahams
83 Posted 04/03/2024 at 10:49:19
John (82),

It surprises me that you feel a 2-point reduction would be appropriate and you would accept this as a relief and would stop us appealing this severe punishment — 8 points in one season!

I'm hoping for no more than a suspended sentence which will be put into operation if we breach whatever rules they plan to start in August.

The 6-point penalty we are serving now is more than enough and will cost us millions with a lower place in the table that will occur at the end of the season.

Double jeopardy should mean we can't be penalised twice for the same mistake, as our barrister pointed out at the last appeal. I hope they listened carefully to that and took notice; otherwise, we should continue to fight the Premier League and the way they have operated their rules to suit a few clubs and antagonise others with Everton FC being picked out.

Jerome Shields
84 Posted 04/03/2024 at 11:11:51
James #73,

You have to be careful when the opposition goalkeeper gets Man of the Match. It can mean he had a day on the training ground where the opposition forwards where channeled, made to shoot from easily savable positions, forced on to their weak side and successfully made to play in front of an organised defence.

Too many goalkeepers have Man of the Match performances against Everton. They are as comfortable as being on the training ground.

Remember, Everton play in the Premier League and there are guys that stay up all night studying tactics who know what they are about. Hence so many unpredictable results.

Rob Dolby
85 Posted 04/03/2024 at 11:17:45

Even if you only watched highlights of the game their keeper was MotM by some distance. He made multiple top saves including 2 worldies in the 2nd half.

It's no secret we lack quality in the final third, Harry Kane scores a hat-trick if he was wearing blue on Saturday.

Ian Wilkins
86 Posted 04/03/2024 at 12:47:28
John @82,

Agree, the 2nd breach sanction (if any) will definitely apply this season. This was the point of accelerating the process by the Premier League, as agreed and signed off by all clubs, including us.

The value of our double jeopardy argument, I just don't know… heard very different perspectives. Given the Premier League's intransigence thus far, I doubt the initial hearing will recognise it. It will take another appeal with legal people on both sides to get a fair hearing. This is going to run and run.

So we need the points, we need a few wins, the games against Forest, Sheff Utd, Burnley and Luton will define it.

We are working hard, we are playing okay, we lack quality and pace in the final third, the odd bit of luck wouldn't go amiss…

Ray Robinson
87 Posted 04/03/2024 at 14:08:35
Double jeopardy argument #1:

You shouldn't be punished for two of the same three seasons twice. Agreed, therefore a reduced penalty should apply (although the counter argument in absolute terms is that we breached two successive 3-year periods and we had a full season to rectify matters – therefore another 6 points)

Double jeopardy argument #2.

You shouldn't have two points deductions applied in the same season. Ordinarily, yes. The counter-argument is that, due to a later date for submitting accounts last season, the points deduction couldn't be applied last season - when we would have gone down.

My own view is that we will lose another 2-3 points this season. Forest must surely get at least 6? So to get to 34 points, which might be safety, we will need at least another 12 or so points. We may not know until after the season has been concluded!

John Raftery
88 Posted 04/03/2024 at 15:48:43
Dave (#83),

I used the word ‘appropriate' from the perspective of the Premier League's approach so far. I think the concept of sporting sanctions for financial rule breaking is seriously flawed but we are stuck with rules for which Premier League clubs voted a decade ago.

From our perspective, while I would much prefer not to have any more points deducted, I doubt the Premier League Commission will allow us a free pass after we continued, albeit unknowingly, breaching those rules.

I know some supporters are fearing another 6-point deduction. I think part of our mitigation plea will be that, after receiving the verdict in November 2023 for the period ending in 2021-22, there was nothing the club could have done to change the 2022-23 year expenditure.

James Alder
89 Posted 04/03/2024 at 18:13:58
An issue I would like to raise is that, if the decision on how many points are to be deducted for the 2nd breach is left until after the end of the season, the Premier League commission will know exactly how many points they need to deduct to either relegate us or keep us safe (assuming we have not already been relegated).

Surely this cannot be fair, the decision on who takes the 3rd relegation place, assuming Sheffield Utd and Burnley are already down, is effectively in the hands of the Premier League commission.

One for the conspiracy theorists out there!

[Sorry if this has already been raised!]

Jerome Shields
90 Posted 05/03/2024 at 09:49:48
Rob #75,

Spectacular saves are bread and butter to Premier League Goalkeepers. The 31-year-old Alphonse Areola is not ranked in the top 10 Premier League Goalkeepers. Jordan Pickford is.

Brian Williams
91 Posted 05/03/2024 at 10:19:42
Jerome #90.

That doesn't change the fact that West Ham owe that win to a great degree to their keeper.

That from West Ham themselves. He was outstanding on the day and that can't really be argued against.

Dave Abrahams
92 Posted 05/03/2024 at 10:34:23
John (88),

That's a fair view of the situation and being honest, none of us know how the Premier League will act on the breach.

My own view, based partially on wishful thinking which counts for nothing, is that the Premier League will treat us, and possibly Notts Forest, leniently in order to treat other richer culprits the same way when they alter the rules in August.

That, along with the strong statement about double jeopardy from our barrister at the appeal which demonstrated the basic unfairness about the way Everton had been treated with two breaches for the same season.

I'll bet you we walk away from this with no more points lost, a full ten-pence bet, that shows you how confident I am, I hope I don't regret this.

Ten pence!! I'm having doubts about this already.

Brian Harrison
93 Posted 05/03/2024 at 11:02:43
Just read Michael Ball's comments in the Echo about Onana, he expresses what I and a few others have been saying about Onana for a while.

Basically he is saying to Onana stop taking the easy option, stop trying to be a cheerleader, and do things that will get the fans excited.

Christine Foster
94 Posted 05/03/2024 at 11:10:38
James, #89 as conspiracy theories go, that's not a bad one.. but they are likely to know the commission's verdict before the end of April, that's a few weeks before the end of season.

If there is an appeal, then yes, the league will know exactly what points situation is. I'll add a bit to it if you like: the league may believe we should have been relegated the season before so they are placating others in dishing out natural injustice.

Infamy, infamy...

Then again, it has an absurd logic.

James Alder
95 Posted 05/03/2024 at 13:54:51
Christine 94#, that’s precisely my concern, if it’s between us, Forest and Luton, who do you think will take the fall. We need to make sure we are well clear!
Paul Hewitt
96 Posted 05/03/2024 at 15:59:39
James @95.

Do you really think the Premier League would rather relegate Everton with a fantastic new stadium round the corner? Or Luton?

James Alder
97 Posted 05/03/2024 at 17:41:34
Paul #96,

I don't think the Premier League have given any thought to our new stadium whatsoever. I think I am right in saying that in a recent report about Premier League clubs' stadium development, they made no reference to it.

If you are suggesting that they would, I hope you are right.

Jerome Shields
98 Posted 06/03/2024 at 13:24:00
Brian #91,

Is it good enough that Everton were beaten by a goalkeeper who got MotM? Everton were simply not good enough.

It has been a long time since Everton scored with movement and good tactical play, with good finishing. They are very dependent on an out-of-the-blue goal.That is a big problem when you are a Premier League club.

Jerome Shields
99 Posted 06/03/2024 at 18:03:01
James #97,

I think the Stadium played a big part, as did the lobbied pressure they were under over the initial decision. But the thing that topped it was the scrutiny and accountability that Premier League officials come under.

As soon as the faceless Chairman looked as if she was going have to answer questions, Everton got a points reduction straight away.

The reasons given should be treated under their definition in Physiology: When you have to give a reason, you are making a excuse.

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